www.wvgazettemail.com U.S. and World http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2016, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers After fatal shooting in Charlotte, police injured in protest http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160921/GZ0113/160929927 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160921/GZ0113/160929927 Wed, 21 Sep 2016 08:23:11 -0400 By Tom Foreman Jr. The Associated Press By By Tom Foreman Jr. The Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Authorities used tear gas to disperse protesters in an overnight demonstration that left about a dozen officers injured in North Carolina's largest city and shut down a highway after the fatal shooting of a black man by Charlotte police who said he was armed and posed a threat.

The protests broke out Tuesday after Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was fatally shot by a black officer at an apartment complex on the city's northeast side. They continued into early Wednesday morning, when TV footage showed dozens of protesters on Interstate 85 apparently looting semi-trucks and setting their contents on fire on the highway.

Neither the North Carolina Highway Patrol nor Charlotte police could immediately be reached for comment. The North Carolina Department of Transportation website showed a portion of I-85 near the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus was closed in both directions early Wednesday. The website said the closure was due to police activity.

Tuesday night, a larger group of demonstrators gathered near the scene of the shooting. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tweeted that demonstrators were destroying marked police vehicles and that about 12 officers had been injured, including one who was hit in the face with a rock. Photos and TV video showed police firing tear gas to break up the crowd. Some officers were in riot gear.

By 5 a.m. Wednesday, the streets were quiet with no protesters in sight. Broken glass and rocks littered the ground where a police car had been vandalized. Less than 5 miles away, wooden pallets barricaded the entrance of a Wal-Mart that had apparently been looted.

The unrest in Charlotte came just hours after another demonstration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the shooting there of an unarmed black man by police.

Charlotte police officers went to the complex about 4 p.m. looking for a suspect with an outstanding warrant when they saw Scott - who was not the suspect they were looking for - inside a car, department spokesman Keith Trietley said in a statement.

Officers saw Scott get out of the car with a gun and then get back in, Trietley said. When officers approached, the man exited the car with the gun again. At that point, officers deemed the man a threat and at least one fired a weapon, he said.

Scott was taken to Carolinas Medical Center and pronounced dead.

Officer Brentley Vinson, who shot Scott, has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases. Vinson has been with the department for two years.

Detectives recovered a gun at the scene and were interviewing witnesses, Trietley said.

Police blocked access to the area, which is about a mile from the campus of the UNC at Charlotte, as protesters gathered after the shooting.

Video from WCCB-TV in Charlotte showed police in riot gear stretched across a two-lane road confronting protesters at the apartment complex later in the night. Some of the officers flanked the main line on one side of the road.

Some protesters were heard yelling "Black lives matter," and "Hands up, don't shoot!" One person held up a sign saying "Stop Killing Us."

Other footage showed protesters lingering around a police vehicle after shattering its windows.

One television news crew retreated from the scene after demonstrators began rocking their remote van, which was parked near the apartment complex where the shooting occurred.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts appealed for calm and tweeted that "the community deserves answers."

In Tulsa, hundreds of people rallied outside police headquarters calling for the firing of police officer Betty Shelby, who shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Friday during a confrontation in the middle of a road that was captured on police dashcam and helicopter video.

Shelby's attorney has said Crutcher was not following the officers' commands and that Shelby was concerned because he kept reaching for his pocket as if he were carrying a weapon. An attorney representing Crutcher's family says Crutcher committed no crime and gave officers no reason to shoot him.

Local and federal investigations into that shooting are ongoing.

Associated Press writer Steve Reed contributed to this report.

Police capture man sought in New York-area bombings http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160919/GZ01/160919469 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160919/GZ01/160919469 Mon, 19 Sep 2016 12:06:24 -0400 By Jake Pearson and Alicia A. Caldwell The Associated Press By By Jake Pearson and Alicia A. Caldwell The Associated Press NEW YORK - An Afghan immigrant wanted for questioning in the bombings that rocked a New York City neighborhood and a New Jersey shore town was taken into custody Monday after a shootout with police in New Jersey, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

WABC-TV footage showed a man believed to be 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher in Linden, New Jersey. He appeared to be conscious and looking around.

The law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity, said two officers were shot in the gun battle.

The arrest came just hours after police issued a bulletin and photo of Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan with an address in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Authorities said the blasts were looking increasingly like an act of terrorism with a foreign connection.

Police did not disclose how they zeroed in on Rahami but were known to be poring over surveillance video. At the same time, five people who were pulled over in a vehicle Sunday night were being questioned by the FBI, officials said.

The shootout came after a weekend of fear and dread in New York and New Jersey.

In addition to the blast that injured 29 people in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on Saturday, an unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found blocks away, and a pipe bomb exploded in a New Jersey shore town before a charity race. No one was injured there. On Sunday, five explosive devices were discovered in a trash can at an Elizabeth train station.

Also on Saturday, a man who authorities say referred to Allah wounded nine people in a stabbing rampage at a Minnesota mall before being shot to death by an off-duty police officer. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Authorities have not drawn any connection between the violence in Minnesota and the bombings in the New York area.

Citing the FBI, New Jersey State Police said Monday that the bombings in Chelsea and the New Jersey shore town Seaside Park were connected.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as investigators gathered information, they learned there were "certain commonalities among the bombs," leading authorities to believe "that there was a common group behind the bombs."

Before Rahami's capture, Cuomo said investigators have no reason to believe there are further threats, but the public should "be on constant guard."

Early Monday, FBI agents swarmed an apartment above a fried chicken restaurant in Elizabeth that is tied to Rahami. The Rahami family lives in the apartment.

The restaurant, First American Fried Chicken, is owned by Rahami's father and has also employed some of his brothers, Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage said.

He said Rahami's father and two brothers sued the city after it passed an ordinance requiring the restaurant to close early because of complaints from neighbors about it being a late-night nuisance.

Ryan McCann, of Elizabeth, said that he often ate at the restaurant and recently began seeing Rahami working there more.

"He's always in there. He's a very friendly guy, that's what's so scary. It's hard when it's home," McCann said.

In the immediate aftermath of the New York bombing, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo were careful to say there was no evidence of a link to international terrorism. Both said Monday that appeared to be changing.

"The more we learn with each passing hour is it looks more like terrorism," de Blasio said in an interview on NY1 News. Cuomo said on MSNBC: "Today's information suggests it may be foreign-related, but we'll see where it goes."

On Sunday night, FBI agents in Brooklyn stopped "a vehicle of interest" in the investigation of the Manhattan explosion, according to FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.

She wouldn't provide further details, but a government official and a law enforcement official who were briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that five people in the car were being questioned at an FBI building in Manhattan.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the investigation.

On Sunday, a federal law enforcement official said the Chelsea bomb contained a residue of Tannerite, an explosive often used for target practice that can be picked up in many sporting goods stores.

Cellphones were discovered at the site of both the New York and New Jersey bombings, but no Tannerite residue was identified in the New Jersey bomb remnants, in which a black powder was detected, said the official, who wasn't authorized to comment on the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The pipe bomb that exploded Saturday in Seaside Park went off before a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. The race was canceled.

One of the five devices found at the Elizabeth train station exploded while a bomb squad robot tried to disarm it. No one was hurt.

Caldwell reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Karen Matthews, Maria Sanminiatelli, Michael Balsamo and Dake Kang in New York and Eric Tucker and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.

Now adults, children of 9/11 draw inspiration from tragedy http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160908/GZ0113/160909624 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160908/GZ0113/160909624 Thu, 8 Sep 2016 07:35:11 -0400 By JENNIFER PELTZ The Associated Press By By JENNIFER PELTZ The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) - They were kids, or not even born yet, when America's heart broke for them.

More than 3,000 children and young adults lost a parent in the deadliest terror attack on American soil, instantly becoming known as the children of 9/11.

As the 15th anniversary of the attacks approaches, these children are now adults or nearly so, and their Sept. 11 legacy is now theirs to shape.

Many have been guided by a determination to honor the parent they lost or the awareness they so painfully gained. And they have done it in ways as varied as working with refugees, studying the forces that led to the attacks and pursuing a parent's unrealized pro-sports dream.

Here are some of their stories.

It's Lindsay Weinberg's job to find and notify families whose loved ones have died, sometimes under violent circumstances. It's a job she's particularly prepared to do.

"I'm giving them among the worst news they can receive, and I've received it," she says.

Weinberg was 12 when the New York City medical examiner's office, where she now works, told her family in 2002 that it had identified her father's remains among the victims of 9/11.

"It adds to the amount of empathy that I can have," says the 26-year-old, whose father, Steven Weinberg, was an accounting manager killed at the World Trade Center.

After recognizing how forensic science helped provide answers for her family, Lindsay got a master's degree in it, and is now an outreach investigator. She hasn't worked on the continuing analysis of the more than 21,000 bits of bone found at ground zero.

She says her connection to 9/11 is "not something that I lead with, personally or professionally." But working at the medical examiner's office, she says, shows "how things kind of come full circle."

Thea Trinidad's pulse thumped as she walked out on the floor of Madison Square Garden as part of pro wrestler Adam Rose's entourage in 2014. It was the first time she'd been there in her own wrestling career. And the first time since she'd been there with her dad.

Looking up at the seats where they always sat "was like a punch to the heart," she says.

She was 10 when she overheard her father calling her mother to say goodbye from the trade center's north tower, where he worked as a telecommunications analyst. Growing up, she pondered how to honor him.

"I thought: 'What was it we shared the most?' And it was wrestling," she recalls.

Michael Trinidad was a former high school wrestler who didn't flinch when his tomboy daughter did leaping moves off the furniture. In fact, "he'd say, 'No, you're doing it wrong - let me show you,"' says Thea, 25, who lives in Tampa, Florida.

At first, the 5-foot-tall wrestler didn't let on about her dad as she backflipped and body-slammed under the monikers Divina Fly and Rosita. (She now uses her own name). She didn't want anyone thinking she was making a play for sympathy.

After her story emerged, Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine named her Inspirational Wrestler of the Year in 2011.

She says she feels her father's spirit every time she goes into the ring.

"This one's for you, Dad," she tells herself. "Protect me out there."

Several years after 9/11, Michael Massaroli came across a plastic bin filled with condolence messages.

They had come from people around the country and world, many of them strangers, after the attacks killed his father and namesake, an investment executive. Michael was 6. His widowed mother had just given birth to a baby girl two months earlier.

"Hearing how people were so selfless and so caring to us really made me want to try to do something, career-wise, that I thought would help other people," he says.

He decided that would be public service, since he was already interested in politics. By high school, he was interning for a state assemblyman.

Now 21 and newly graduated from George Washington University, he got his first job working at a Washington firm that helps political campaigns handle their finances properly. He sees himself eventually working in government as an adviser or aide.

"I really try and at least get positive personal growth out of something that was so horrific," he says, "rather than let it break me down."

Anjunelly Jean-Pierre once had her future all figured out. She planned on joining the military and eventually becoming the doctor or lawyer her mother envisioned.

Then her mother, Maxima Jean-Pierre, was killed at the World Trade Center, where the immigrant from the Dominican Republic managed an executive cafe.

Over the next few years, Anjunelly grieved, regrouped and decided she wanted to do what her mother did. Recalling the Sunday dinners that filled the house with friends and family, "I saw how food brings people together," says Anjunelly, 34.

After culinary school and a stint as a sous-chef for an Emeril Lagasse TV show, Anjunelly now works in a setting where bringing people together is perhaps especially important: She is a manager in the Members' Dining Room in Congress.

Last September, a letter she wrote about Maxima was entered into the Congressional Record. One of the most popular dishes she's made over the years was Maxima's rice and peas, she wrote: "I guess the love and the heritage comes through."

Alexandra Wald wanted to understand. She soaked up books about the forces and failures that led to Sept. 11. She took four years of Arabic in college, got a master's degree in international relations and aspired to work in intelligence.

"Being as affected as I was by the geopolitical landscape and my dad being killed on 9/11," she says, "I wanted to make sure it never happened again."

It was her first day of high school when her father, stockbroker Victor Wald, was killed at the World Trade Center.

His daughter, who goes by Alex, was already interested in world events. But 9/11 made her want "to be that person to decipher that information, to protect the homeland."

Now 28, she works on a cybersecurity project for a contractor for the federal General Services Administration in Washington.

Studying for her career - with help from the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, set up for the children of 9/11 victims - also meant dealing with the frustration of contemplating missed opportunities to disrupt the terror plot.

When the anger stirred, she'd think of some advice her father gave her a few weeks before the attacks.

"You can't look back with regret," he told her. And "never say, 'What if?"'

It's all right to ask Ryan McGowan about the "IX.XI" tattooed on the back of her neck. It's 9/11 in Roman numerals.

"Once it's on my skin," she says, "I have to talk about it."

Ryan was 5, sister Casey 4, when their mother, investment executive Stacey Sennas McGowan, was killed at the trade center.

As a preteen, Ryan partly played the role of parent, helping her sister pick outfits for school and making dinner when their father, Tom, had to work. She came to think of her mother as "an amazing guardian angel."

Now 20, Ryan is a junior majoring in marketing at Boston College, where 19-year-old Casey is a sophomore in communications.

Often, Ryan makes her way through the campus to a labyrinth inscribed with her mom's name and those of 21 fellow BC graduates killed in 9/11. It's a place she feels close to her mother, whose remains were never identified and buried.

"I can just sit there and reflect," she says. "I don't have that anywhere else."

Ronald Milam Jr. doesn't always tell his football and basketball teammates that there's a reason he wears the number 33. It's for his father, Army Maj. Ronald Milam, who was 33 when he was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Ronald Jr. never met his father. His mother, then-Air Force Capt. Jacqueline Milam, was pregnant with him on 9/11. She safely escaped from the Pentagon.

Ronald Jr., now a 14-year-old high school freshman in San Antonio, is one of the more than 100 Sept. 11 victims' children who were born after the attacks.

He has his dad's features and unflappable personality. And his jersey number was a connection he could make with his father, a college player himself.

"I wanted to play in honor of my dad," he says. "So I picked that."

Sometimes, after refugees told her their stories of conflict and loss, Sonia Shah would let them know that she had one, too.

Explaining that her father died in 9/11 opened "a bonding moment," says the Baylor University social work student, who spent the summer volunteering with refugee aid organizations in Greece.

Her father, Jayesh "Jay" Shah, was killed at ground zero, where he was a financial trading technology executive. Sonia was 7.

His death fueled Sonia's impulse to try to help where others turn away.

"Because I had faced loss at such a young age and in such a different way than many other people, I recognized hardship in other people's life a lot more easily," says the 22-year-old senior, who took a year off from college for religious study. She says that without her faith, she "wouldn't be as whole and as healed."

Quake jolts Oklahoma fracking industry http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160906/GZ01/160909722 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160906/GZ01/160909722 Tue, 6 Sep 2016 17:22:57 -0400 By Adam Williams Bloomberg By By Adam Williams Bloomberg A backlash against fracking in Oklahoma might be about to get worse after a record-tying earthquake over the weekend, potentially slowing the development of some of the United States' most coveted shale plays.

Oklahoma regulators already had been limiting the disposal of oilfield wastewater, which scientists have linked to seismic activity, before a 5.6-magnitude tremor in the state was felt from Texas to Illinois on Saturday, matching a 2011 record. The number of earthquakes measuring 3.0 or higher reached at least 890 last year, followed by about 375 this year through June 22. The numbers are a far cry from only two in 2008, before the state's fracking boom.

As oil production surged in Oklahoma, with the Scoop and Stack areas among the most-sought new plays in the country, so did the disposal of wastewater from fracked fields. Several producers, and now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are facing lawsuits because of seismic activity allegedly linked to disposal wells in Oklahoma and other states.

"They are going to push the industry to come up with some permanent solutions," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research Inc., in Winchester, Massachusetts. "It's hard to believe Oklahoma would move to ban fracking, but I can see where they would say to people that they have to do something else with the wastewater, which is believed to be the source of the increase in earthquakes."

Oklahoma, a region previously not known for intense seismic activity, began having a significant number of earthquakes in 2009, the same year local oil companies began using fracking to shatter deep rock layers to extract oil and gas. Fracked wells produce large quantities of wastewater, which drilling companies inject into ultra-deep disposal wells.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas activity in the state, has been issuing restrictions for more than a year aimed at cutting down on the amount of wastewater injected into disposal wells. There are about 35,000 active wells, although only a few dozen have been linked to quakes, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report in May, citing the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Without studying the specifics of the wastewater injection and oil and gas production in this area, the USGS cannot currently conclude whether or not this particular earthquake was caused by industrial-related, human activities," the agency said Saturday in a statement. "However, we do know that many earthquakes in Oklahoma have been triggered by wastewater fluid injection."

Saturday's earthquake, near a complex of oil-storage facilities, led the regulator to order the suspension of about 37 wastewater disposal wells. This was the first time the regulator has ordered the mandatory measure, commission spokesman Matt Skinner said by telephone. Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill into law that provided such powers last April.

PetroQuest Energy Inc. was ordered to shut down four of its disposal wells in Oklahoma just days after the oil and gas producer skipped an interest payment and said it might face bankruptcy. PetroQuest was the only publicly traded U.S. company among the operators affected by the commission's measure. The Lafayette, Louisiana-based producer has until Sept. 10 to shut down its wells, according to the commission's mandate.

Oil storage and pipeline facilities at the Cushing hub, 25 miles south of Pawnee, were undamaged, according to the commission and four of the companies that operate there. The quake was followed by at least eight aftershocks measuring as much as 3.6, according to the USGS.

"You might see a little bit of a pause [in fracking activity] as people try to adjust and come up with different ways to cope," Lynch said. "The first step will be restricting the wastewater wells, particularly the ones that seem to be causing the most harm."

Hermine hits Florida coast as 1st hurricane in a decade http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160902/GZ0113/160909911 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160902/GZ0113/160909911 Fri, 2 Sep 2016 08:35:37 -0400 By JOSH REPLOGLE and BRENDAN FARRINGTON The Associated Press By By JOSH REPLOGLE and BRENDAN FARRINGTON The Associated Press CARRABELLE, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Hermine made landfall in Florida's Big Bend area early Friday as the first hurricane to hit the state in more than a decade, bringing soaking rain, high winds and thousands of power outages.

The Category 1 storm hit just east of St. Marks around 1:30 a.m. EDT with winds around 80 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Hermine later weakened to a tropical storm as it moved farther inland.

Projected storm surges of up to 12 feet menaced a wide swath of the coast and an expected drenching of up to 10 inches of rain carried the danger of flooding along the storm's path over land, including the state capital Tallahassee, which hadn't been hit by a hurricane since Kate in 1985.

As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, Hermine was weakening as it moved into southern Georgia, the Hurricane Center said. It was centered about 20 miles west of Valdosta, Georgia, and was moving north-northeast near 14 mph.

After pushing through Georgia, Hermine was expected to move into the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.

In Florida's Pasco County, north of Tampa, authorities said flooding forced 18 people from their homes in Green Key and Hudson Beach. Pasco County Fire Rescue and sheriff's deputies used high-water vehicles early Friday to rescue people from rising water. They were taken to a nearby shelter.

In Wakulla County, south of Tallahassee, a couple suffered minor injuries during the storm when they drove into a tree that had fallen in the road, County Administrator Dustin Hinkel said early Friday. He said storm surge of 8 to 10 feet damaged docks and flooded coastal roads.

As Hermine moved north, Georgia Power estimated about 19,000 homes and businesses were without power statewide early Friday. Many of those were in Valdosta and surrounding Lowndes County, about 15 miles north of the Georgia-Florida line. The storm's center was passing 20 miles to the west of Valdosta at 5 a.m. Lowndes County spokeswoman Paige Dukes said crews were dealing with fallen trees and snapped power lines, but no injuries had been reported. Winds exceeding 55 mph had been recorded in the county, with 4 to 5 inches of rainfall, she said.

The last hurricane to strike Florida was Wilma, a powerful Category 3 storm that arrived on Oct. 24, 2005. It swept across the Everglades and struck heavily populated south Florida, causing five deaths in the state and an estimated $23 billion in damage.

Residents on some islands and other low-lying, flood-prone areas in Florida had been urged to clear out Thursday. Flooding was expected across a wide swath of the marshy coastline of the Big Bend - the mostly rural and lightly populated corner where the Florida peninsula meets the Panhandle.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned of the danger of strong storm surges, high winds, downed trees and power outages, and urged people to move to inland shelters if necessary and make sure they have enough food, water and medicine.

"You can rebuild a home, you can rebuild property, you cannot rebuild a life," Scott said at a news conference Thursday afternoon, adding that "we are going to see a lot of flooding."

Scott, who declared an emergency in 51 counties, said 6,000 National Guardsmen were poised to mobilize for the storm's aftermath. The governors of Georgia and North Carolina also declared states of emergency.

Across the Florida line in south Georgia, about a dozen people had already showed up by Thursday evening at a Red Cross shelter that opened at a city auditorium in Valdosta that's normally used for banquets and gospel concerts.

Cynthia Arnold left her mobile home for the shelter with her brother and her 5-year-old grandson, adding "I'm not just going to sit there and be ignorant."

US proposes forced speed limits for truck, bus drivers http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160826/GZ0113/160829625 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160826/GZ0113/160829625 Fri, 26 Aug 2016 20:06:46 -0400 Technology would prevent heavy vehicles from driving above set speed

By Tom Krisher

The Associated Press

DETROIT - The U.S. is seeking to forcibly limit how fast trucks, buses and other large vehicles can travel on the nation's highways.

A new proposal Friday would impose a nationwide limit by electronically capping speeds with a device on newly made U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Regulators are considering a cap of 60, 65 or 68 mph, though that could change. Whatever the speed limit, drivers would be physically prevented from exceeding it. The proposal does not force older heavy vehicles to add the speed-limiting technology, but regulators are still considering it.

The government said capping speeds for new large vehicles will reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks that occur each year and save $1 billion in fuel costs.

While the news is being welcomed by some safety advocates and non-professional drivers, many truckers say that such changes could lead to dangerous scenarios where they are traveling at much lower speeds than everyone else.

The rule has been ensnared in a regulatory maze in the decade since the nonprofit group Roadsafe America issued its first petition in 2006. The group was founded by Atlanta financial adviser Scott Owings and his wife Susan, whose son Cullum was killed by a speeding tractor-trailer during a trip back to school in Virginia after Thanksgiving in 2002. The nonprofit was later joined by the American Trucking Associations, the nation's largest trucking industry group.

Owings said he will continue to push NHTSA to force older heavy vehicles to limit their speeds.

"We are dismayed and outraged to learn the proposed rule will be for newly manufactured trucks and will not apply to the millions of trucks with which we continue to share the roads today," he said.

NHTSA said retrofitting vehicles made after 1990 with the speed-limiting technology could be too costly, and it is still seeking comments and additional information. NHTSA said it could cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000 per vehicle, depending on when the vehicle was made. Changes to some engines could also be required, increasing the costs, NHTSA said.

The government agencies involved will take public comment for 60 days, then determine the final limit and decide if the regulation should be put in place.

To James Chapman, a big rig driver from Spartanburg, South Carolina, 68 mph would be the best option and he'd accept 65. But 60 would be too big of a difference from cars that go 75 or more.

"To me it would be a safety hazard unless it slowed everybody else down," he said while refueling his truck Friday along Interstate 75 near Findlay, Ohio.

The agencies said that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles to 60 mph could save as many as 498 lives annually. Limiting it to 65 mph could save as many as 214 lives, and limiting it to 68 mph could save as many as 96.

The agencies said the proposal is based on available safety data and the additional benefit of better fuel economy. The cost would be minimal because all of the 3.6 million big rigs on U.S. roads have speed-limiting devices installed already, but some don't have the limits set, according to agency documents.

But Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the 157,000-member Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, said her group has opposed the speed limiters because they create dangerous interactions between vehicles as faster cars slow down for trucks. "Differentials in speed increase interactions between vehicles, which increases the likelihood of crashes," Taylor said.

Yet there is another compelling reason to limit truck speeds. An investigation last year by The Associated Press found that 14 states have speed limits for big trucks that are equal to or higher than their tires were designed to handle. Most truck tires aren't designed to go faster than 75 mph, and tire manufacturers say traveling faster than that can cause tires to fail and blow out, creating safety issues.

Most of the states with the higher speed limits are west of the Mississippi River. Of the 14, five have speed limits of 80 mph or more and allow trucks to exceed the capability of their tires. NHTSA has said the speed limiters should take care of the discrepancy between state speed limits and truck tire capabilities.

Most of the states with speed limits of 80 or above either didn't know about the truck tire speed ratings or didn't consider them. States set their own speed limits, having been given sole authority to do so by Congress in the mid-1990s.

Italy toll rises to 247 as anguish mounts over quake http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160825/GZ0113/160829720 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160825/GZ0113/160829720 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:24:12 -0400 By FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press By By FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Rescue crews raced against time Thursday looking for survivors from the earthquake that leveled three towns in central Italy, but the death toll rose to 247 and Italy once again anguished over trying to secure its medieval communities built on seismic lands.

Dawn broke over the rolling hills of central Lazio and Le Marche regions after a night of uninterrupted search efforts. Aided by sniffer dogs and audio equipment, firefighters and rescue crews using their bare hands pulled chunks of cement, rock and metal apart from mounds of rubble where homes once stood searching for signs of life.

One area of focus was the Hotel Roma in Amatrice, famous for the Amatriciana bacon and tomato pasta sauce that brings food lovers to this medieval hilltop town each August for its food festival.

Amatrice's mayor had initially said 70 guests were in the crumbled hotel ahead of this weekend's festival, but rescue workers later halved that estimate after the owner said most guests managed to escape.

Firefighters' spokesman Luca Cari said that one body had been pulled out of the hotel rubble just before dawn but that the search continued there and elsewhere, even as 460 aftershocks rattled the area after the magnitude 6 temblor struck at 3:36 a.m. on Wednesday.

"We're still in a phase that allows us to hope we'll find people alive," Cari said, noting that in the 2009 earthquake in nearby L'Aquila a survivor was pulled out after 72 hours.

Worst affected by the quake were the tiny towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto, 25 kilometers (15 miles) further east.

Italy's civil protection agency reported the death toll had risen to 247 early Thursday with at least 264 others hospitalized. Most of the dead - 190 - were in Amatrice and Accumuli and their nearby hamlets.

"From here everyone survived," said Sister Mariana, one of three nuns and an elderly woman who survived the quake that pancaked half of her Amatrice convent.

"They saved each other, they took their hands even while it was falling apart, and they ran, and they survived."

She said that others from another part of the convent apparently didn't make it: Three other nuns and four elderly women.

The civil protection agency set up tent cities around the affected towns to accommodate the homeless, 1,200 of whom took advantage of the offer to spend the night, civil protection officials said Thursday. In Amatrice, some 50 elderly and children spent the night inside a local sports facility.

"It's not easy for them," said civil protection volunteer Tiziano De Carolis, helping to care for about 350 homeless in Amatrice.

"They have lost everything, the work of an entire life, like those who have a business, a shop, a pharmacy, a grocery store and from one day to another they discovered everything they had was destroyed."

As the search effort continued, the soul-searching began once again as Italy confronted the effects of having the highest seismic hazard in Western Europe, some of its most picturesque medieval villages, and anti-seismic building codes that aren't applied to old buildings and often aren't respected when new ones are built.

"In a country where in the past 40 years there have been at least eight devastating earthquakes ... the only lesson we have learned is to save lives after the fact," columnist Sergio Rizzo wrote in Thursday's Corriere della Sera. "We are far behind in the other lessons."

Experts estimate that 70 percent of Italy's buildings aren't built to anti-seismic standards. After every major quake, proposals are made to improve, but they often languish in Italy's thick bureaucracy, funding shortages and the huge scope of trying to secure thousands of ancient towns and newer structures built before codes were passed or after the codes were in effect but in violation of them.

In recent quakes, some of these more modern buildings have been the deadliest: the university dormitory that collapsed in the 2009 L'Aquila quake, killing 11 students; the elementary school that crumbled in San Giuliano di Puglia in 2002, killing 26 children - the town's entire first-grade class. In some cases, the anti-seismic building standards have been part of the problem, including using reinforced cement for roofs that are then too heavy for weak walls when quakes strike.

Premier Matteo Renzi, visiting the quake-affected zone Wednesday, promised to rebuild "and guarantee a reconstruction that will allow residents to live in these communities, to relaunch these beautiful towns that have a wonderful past that will never end."

While the government is already looking ahead to reconstruction, rescue workers on the ground still had days and weeks of work ahead of them. In hard-hit Pescara del Tronto, firefighter Franco Mantovan said early Thursday that crews knew of three residents still under the rubble, but in a hard-to-reach area.

In the evening there, about 17 hours after the quake struck, firefighters pulled a 10-year-old girl alive from a crumbled home.

"You can hear something under here. Quiet, quiet," one rescue worker said, before soon urging her on: "Come on, Giulia, come on, Giulia."

Cheers broke out when she was pulled out.

But there were wails when bodies emerged.

"Unfortunately, 90 percent we pull out are dead, but some make it, that's why we are here," said Christian Bianchetti, a volunteer from Rieti who was working in devastated Amatrice.

Militants attack American University in Afghanistan http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ01/160829777 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ01/160829777 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 12:15:11 -0400 By Lynne O’Donnell The Associated Press By By Lynne O’Donnell The Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan - Militants attacked the American University of Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press photographer who was in class at the time.

Massoud Hossaini said he was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion on the southern flank of the campus.

"I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass," Hossaini said, adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands.

The students then barricaded themselves into the classroom, pushing chairs and desks against the door, and staying on the floor.

Hossaini and about nine students later managed to escape from the campus through a northern emergency gate.

"As we were running I saw someone lying on the ground face down, they looked like they had been shot in the back," he said.

Hossaini and the nine students took refuge in a residential house near the campus, and were later safely evacuated by Afghan security forces.

University President Mark English told The Associated Press that security forces had arrived on the scene soon after the attack began around 7 p.m. (1430 GMT) and that "we are trying to assess the situation."

Other witnesses say they heard explosions and automatic gunfire. Ambulances arrived at the campus in western Kabul, but it was not immediately clear how many people had been wounded.

Dejan Panic, the program director at Kabul's Emergency Hospital, said 11 patients had so far been admitted, 10 men and one woman. He said three were "seriously" wounded, probably from automatic gunfire.

Police spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said security forces were conducting a clearing operation to track down the "terrorists." He said it was still not clear if there were one or two attackers.

All other personnel on the campus were being evacuated, he said. He had no further details on the nature of the attack.

The Pentagon said U.S. military advisers were on the ground with Afghan security forces at the university. Spokesman Adam Stump said the forces had been embedded with the Afghan units.

The attack on AUAF comes two weeks after two university staff, an American and an Australian, were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

The university was established in 2006 to offer liberal arts courses modeled on the U.S. system. More than 1,000 students are currently enrolled in degree courses.

The Taliban have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for 15 years, and regard foreign civilians as legitimate targets.

Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Kabul and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

Italy earthquake kills at least 159, reduces towns to rubble http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ0113/160829780 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160824/GZ0113/160829780 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:25:04 -0400 By PAOLO SANTALUCIA, FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press By By PAOLO SANTALUCIA, FRANCES D’EMILIO and NICOLE WINFIELD The Associated Press AMATRICE, Italy (AP) - Rescue crews using bulldozers and their bare hands raced to dig out survivors from a strong earthquake that reduced three central Italian towns to rubble Wednesday. The death toll stood at 159, but the number of dead and missing was uncertain given the thousands of vacationers in the area for summer's final days.

Residents wakened before dawn by the temblor emerged from their crumbled homes to find what they described as apocalyptic scenes "like Dante's Inferno," with entire blocks of buildings turned into piles of sand and rock, thick dust choking the air and a putrid smell of gas.

"The town isn't here anymore," said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of the hardest-hit town, Amatrice. "I believe the toll will rise."

The magnitude 6.2 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, where residents woke to a long swaying followed by aftershocks. The temblor shook the Lazio region and Umbria and Le Marche on the Adriatic coast, a highly seismic area that has witnessed major quakes in the past.

Dozens of people were pulled out alive by rescue teams and volunteers that poured in from around Italy.

In the evening, about 17 hours after the quake struck, firefighters pulled a 10-year-old girl alive from the rubble in Pescara del Tronto.

"You can hear something under here. Quiet, quiet," one rescue worker said, before soon urging her on: "Come on, Giulia, come on, Giulia."

Cheers broke out when she was pulled out.

And there were wails when bodies emerged.

"Unfortunately, 90 percent we pull out are dead, but some make it, that's why we are here," said Christian Bianchetti, a volunteer from Rieti who was working in devastated Amatrice where flood lights were set up so the rescue could continue through the night.

Premier Matteo Renzi visited the zone Wednesday, greeted rescue teams and survivors, and pledged that "No family, no city, no hamlet will be left behind." Italy's civil protection agency reported the death toll had risen to 159 by late Wednesday; at least 368 others were injured.

Worst affected were the tiny towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto, some 25 kilometers further east. Italy's civil protection agency set up tent cities around each hamlet to accommodate the thousands of homeless.

Italy's health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, visiting the devastated area, said many of the victims were children: The quake zone is a popular spot for Romans with second homes, and the population swells in August when most Italians take their summer holiday before school resumes.

The medieval center of Amatrice was devastated, with the hardest-hit half of the city cut off by rescue crews digging by hand to get to trapped residents.

The birthplace of the famed spaghetti all'amatriciana bacon and tomato sauce, the city was full for this weekend's planned festival honoring its native dish. Guests filled its top Hotel Roma, famed for its amatriciana, where five bodies were pulled from the rubble before the operation was suspended when conditions became too dangerous late Wednesday. Among those killed was an 11-year-old boy who had initially shown signs of life.

Officials initially said about 70 guests were staying at the hotel, but later lowered the number to about 35, many of whom got out in time.

Carlo Cardinali, a local fire official taking part in the search efforts at the hotel, told Sky TG24 that about 10 guests were still missing.

Amatrice is made up of 69 hamlets that teams from around Italy were working to reach with sniffer dogs, earth movers and other heavy equipment. In the city center, rocks and metal tumbled onto the streets and dazed residents huddled in piazzas as more than 200 aftershocks jolted the region throughout the day, some as strong as magnitude 5.1.

"The whole ceiling fell but did not hit me," marveled resident Maria Gianni. "I just managed to put a pillow on my head and I wasn't hit, luckily, just slightly injured my leg."

Another woman, sitting in front of her destroyed home with a blanket over her shoulders, said she didn't know what had become of her loved ones.

"It was one of the most beautiful towns of Italy and now there's nothing left," she said, too distraught to give her name. "I don't know what we'll do."

As the August sun turned into a nighttime chill, residents, civil protection workers and even priests dug with shovels, bulldozers and their bare hands to reach survivors. A steady column of dump trucks brought tons of twisted metal, rock and cement down the hill and onto the highway toward Rome, along with a handful of ambulances bringing the injured to Rome hospitals.

"We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars and jacks to remove beams. Everything, we need everything," civil protection worker Andrea Gentili told The Associated Press in the early hours of the recovery. Italy's national blood drive association appealed for donations to Rieti's hospital.

Despite a massive rescue and relief effort - with army, Alpine crews, carabineri, firefighters, Red Cross crews and volunteers, it wasn't enough: A few miles (kilometers) north of Amatrice, in Illica, residents complained that rescue workers were slow to arrive and that loved ones were trapped.

"We are waiting for the military," said resident Alessandra Cappellanti. "There is a base in Ascoli, one in Rieti, and in L'Aquila. And we have not seen a single soldier. We pay! It's disgusting!"

Agostino Severo, a Rome resident visiting Illica, said workers eventually arrived after an hour or so. "We came out to the piazza, and it looked like Dante's Inferno," he said. "People crying for help, help."

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake's magnitude was 6.2, while the Italian geological service put it at 6 and the European Mediterranean Seismological Center at 6.1. The quake had a shallow depth of between four and 10 kilometers, the agencies said. Generally, shallow earthquakes pack a bigger punch and tend to be more damaging than deeper quakes.

"The Apennine mountains in central Italy have the highest seismic hazard in Western Europe and earthquakes of this magnitude are common," noted Richard Walters, a lecturer in Earth sciences at Durham University in Britain.

The devastation harked back to the 2009 quake that killed more than 300 people in and around L'Aquila, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the latest quake. The town, which still hasn't fully recovered, sent emergency teams Wednesday to help with the rescue and set up tent camps for residents unwilling to stay indoors because of aftershocks.

"I don't know what to say. We are living this immense tragedy," said a tearful Rev. Savino D'Amelio, a parish priest in Amatrice. "We are only hoping there will be the least number of victims possible and that we all have the courage to move on."

Another hard-hit town was Pescara del Tronto, in the Le Marche region, where the main road was covered in debris.

Residents were digging their neighbors out by hand before emergency crews arrived. Aerial photos taken by regional firefighters showed the town essentially flattened and under a thick gray coat of dust; Italy requested EU satellite images of the whole area to get the scope of the damage.

"There are broken liquor bottles all over the place," said Gino Petrucci, owner of a bar in nearby Arquata Del Tronto where he was beginning the long cleanup.

One rescue was particularly delicate as a ranger in Capodacqua, in the Marche province of Ascoli Piceno, diplomatically tried to keep an 80-year-old woman calm as she begged to get to a toilet, even though she was trapped in the rubble.

"Listen, I know it's not nice to say but if you need to pee you just do it," he said. "Now I move away a little bit and you do pee, please."

The mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, said a family of four had died there, one of the few young families who had decided to stay in the area. He wept as he noted that the tiny hamlet of 700 swells to 2,000 in the summer months, and that he feared for the future of the town.

"I hope they don't forget us," he told Sky TG24.

President Barack Obama, speaking by telephone to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, said the U.S. sent its thoughts and prayers to the quake victims and saluted the "quick action" by first responders, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

A 1997 quake killed a dozen people in central Italy and severely damaged one of the jewels of Umbria, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, filled with Giotto frescoes. The Franciscan friars who are the custodians of the basilica reported no immediate damage from Wednesday's temblor.

Pope Francis skipped his traditional catechism for his Wednesday general audience and instead invited the thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square to recite the rosary with him. He also sent a six-man squad from the Vatican's fire department to help with the rescue.


Winfield reported from Rome. Associated Press staffers Valentina Onori in Amatrice, Fulvio Paolucci in Illica and Trisha Thomas in Pescara del Tronto contributed to this report.

Naked Donald Trump statues pop up in cities across the US http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819455 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819455 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:41:14 -0400 The Associated Press By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) - It's Donald Trump like you've never seen him before.

Life-size naked statues of the Republican presidential nominee greeted passers-by in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Cleveland on Thursday. They are the brainchild of an activist collective called INDECLINE, which has spoken out against Trump before.

In a statement, the collective said the hope is that Trump, the former host of "The Apprentice" reality TV series, "is never installed in the most powerful political and military position in the world."

The statues were created by an artist in Cleveland. They are of a stern-faced Trump with his hands folded over a bulging belly. Some parts of male genitalia are visible while others seemingly are missing.

"It is through these sculptures that we leave behind the physical and metaphorical embodiment of the ghastly soul of one of America's most infamous and reviled politicians," INDECLINE said in its statement.

Trump's campaign declined to comment on the statues.

A statue in New York's Union Square quickly drew the attention of people, many of whom posed for photographs with it, before it was removed by the city's parks department.

"NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small," parks spokesman Sam Biederman joked.

A video posted by DNAInfo showed onlookers booing and groaning as workers snapped the statue off its base, leaving the feet behind, and loaded it face-down into the back of a pickup truck. One woman yelled, "Take his nasty feet, too!"

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked about the naked Trump statue, said, "That is a frightening thought. When he's wearing clothes I don't like him."

INDECLINE said statues on the West Coast were still in place.

This wasn't the group's first anti-Trump endeavor. The collective also has spray-painted a U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, with an image of a gagged Trump.

The group's other projects have included putting the names of African-Americans killed by police over the inlaid stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and painting the words "This Land Was Our Land" across an unused airstrip in the Mojave Desert.

Twitter unveils features to filter tweets, notifications http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819456 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160819/GZ0113/160819456 Fri, 19 Aug 2016 11:30:27 -0400 The Associated Press By The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Twitter has announced two new settings that will allow users to control what they see in their feeds and what notifications they receive.

Twitter says in a blog post that it has modified its notification settings to include the ability to see only notifications from people they follow. It's also introducing what it calls a "quality filter" that it says can improve the quality of tweets users see. Twitter says the feature will filter out duplicate tweets or content that appears to be automated.

The announcement from San Francisco-based Twitter comes a month after "Saturday Night Live" and "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones publicly called on Twitter to do more to curb harassment on the platform. Twitter banned one user in response to the incident.

Administration links $400M Iran payment to Americans' release http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160818/GZ01/160819482 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160818/GZ01/160819482 Thu, 18 Aug 2016 19:04:35 -0400 By Bradley Klapper The Associated Press By By Bradley Klapper The Associated Press WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said Thursday that a $400 million cash payment to Iran seven months ago was contingent on the release of a group of American prisoners.

It is the first time the United States has so clearly linked the two events, which critics have painted as a hostage-ransom arrangement.

State Department spokesman John Kirby repeated the administration's line that the negotiations to return the Iranian money - from a decades-old military-equipment deal with the U.S.-backed shah in the 1970s - were conducted separately from the talks to free four U.S. citizens in Iran.

However, he said the administration withheld the delivery of the cash as leverage until Iran permitted the Americans to leave the country.

Both events occurred Jan. 17, fueling suspicions from Republican lawmakers and accusations from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump of a quid pro quo that undermined America's longstanding opposition to ransom payments.

Kirby spoke a day after The Wall Street Journal reported new details of the crisscrossing planes on that day. U.S. officials wouldn't let Iran bring the cash home from a Geneva airport until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three of the freed Americans departed from Tehran, the paper reported. The fourth American left on a commercial flight.

Earlier this month, after the revelation the United States delivered the money in pallets of cash, the administration flatly denied any connection between the payment and the prisoners.

"Reports of link between prisoner release & payment to Iran are completely false," Kirby tweeted at the time.

The money came from an account used by the Iranian government to buy American military equipment in the days of the shah. The equipment was never delivered after the shah's government was overthrown in 1979 and revolutionaries took American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The two sides have wrangled over that account and numerous other financial claims ever since.

President Barack Obama has said his negotiators secured the United States a good deal on a busy diplomatic weekend that also included finalizing the seven-nation nuclear accord.

However, he and other officials have consistently denied any linkage.

"We actually had diplomatic negotiations and conversations with Iran for the first time in several decades," Obama said on Aug. 5, meaning, "Our ability to clear accounts on a number of different issues at the same time converged.

"This wasn't some nefarious deal."

The agreement was the return of the $400 million, plus an additional $1.3 billion in interest, terms that Obama described as favorable, compared to what might have been expected from a tribunal set up in The Hague to rule on pending deals between the two countries. U.S. officials have said they expected an imminent ruling on the claim, and settled with Tehran instead.

Some Iranian officials immediately linked the payment to the release of the four Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Another of the prisoners, pastor Saeed Abedini, also had linked the two events. He said that, as the prisoners waited for hours at an airport to leave Iran, a senior Iranian intelligence official informed them that their departure depended on the plane with the cash.

U.S. officials had pinned the delays on difficulties finding Rezaian's wife and mother, and ensuring they could leave Iran with him.

House and Senate Republicans have peppered the Obama administration for more details about the transaction.

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said Thursday that he sees congressional hearings "as the only way for the American people to fully know whether their tax dollars went directly to Iran's terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."

Kirk is chairman of the Senate Banking national security subcommittee. No hearing dates have been set. Congress returns from a lengthy recess after Labor Day.

The House Financial Services Committee hasn't yet decided whether to hold hearings or not. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., who chairs the Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, asked the Treasury and Justice departments and the Federal Reserve last week to provide all records related to the $400 million payment, as well as the names of government officials who authorized the payment.

Jeb Bush stumps for GOP governor hopeful in pro-Trump WV http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160816/GZ01/160819605 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160816/GZ01/160819605 Tue, 16 Aug 2016 19:48:51 -0400 By Jonathan Mattise The Associated Press By By Jonathan Mattise The Associated Press MORGANTOWN - Jeb Bush hit the campaign trail Tuesday for West Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole, a Donald Trump supporter in heavily pro-Trump coal country.

Bush, who has said he won't vote for Trump or Hillary Clinton for president, addressed a West Virginia business group Tuesday about fighting substance abuse, reforming the tax code, cutting regulations and overhauling the education system.

The former Florida governor's speech largely avoided commentary on Trump, a bitter rival whose attacks became personal during a crowded Republican presidential primary. Bush also headlined a Cole fundraiser Tuesday evening.

"I'd say that everybody has their right to make their choice," Bush told reporters about Trump's West Virginia popularity. "Mr. Trump has captured the support of a lot of people who don't think the system works for them."

Trump's favorability in West Virginia is hardly mirrored nationally, according to recent polling. Bush said it doesn't look like Trump is going to win, adding that the presidency is won "with your arms wide open, not by scolding people."

"We win when we have a positive, proactive, conservative message - one that's inclusive," Bush told reporters. "Repeating how bad things are over and over again can work for a while, but, to win the presidency, we need a serious 21st-century conservative agenda."

Jeb Bush, his brother, former president George W. Bush, and his father, former president George H.W. Bush, skipped the Republican National Convention.

Trump showed up in Charleston for a rally in May, supporters sporting Trump coal mine helmets standing behind him. Cole gave Trump a glowing introduction at the rally, and he's running TV ads that say he "stands with Donald Trump" because of his support for the coal industry.

Cole faces a tough contest against Democratic billionaire businessman Jim Justice, a coal magnate himself. Justice has passed on endorsing anyone for president and is painting himself as a political outsider.

Trump has drawn praise from many coal supporters because he has promised to bring back jobs in the failing industry. He hasn't specifically said how he would do it.

Economic forecasts don't call for coal to return to dominance, regardless of whether global warming-inspired federal regulations on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants take effect. The complicating factors include cheaper natural gas, competition from other coal-producing regions and thinning central Appalachian coal seams.

Clinton badly lost West Virginia's Democratic primary after saying she was "going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business" while discussing plans to help the coalfields, including renewable-energy opportunities. She later said he made a "misstatement."

On Tuesday, Cole announced a seven-point plan to combat West Virginia's drug-abuse epidemic, including a push for mandatory minimum jail sentences for drug dealers. He said anyone caught bringing their "poison" into the state would be imprisoned for a long time.

To address prison overcrowding, then-Attorney General Eric Holder, in 2013, implemented a change so that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders without large-scale gang or cartel ties wouldn't face charges carrying mandatory minimums.

Cole's list of influential GOP visitors to West Virginia is growing. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, before becoming Trump's vice-presidential nominee, and former Texas governor Rick Perry also attended Charleston fundraisers.

Yeager flights among hundreds canceled by Delta http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160808/GZ03/160809580 GZ03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160808/GZ03/160809580 Mon, 8 Aug 2016 07:37:26 -0400 Staff, wire reports By Staff, wire reports

Several Delta Air Lines flights at Charleston's Yeager Airport were canceled or delayed Monday, after the airline's computer systems crashed worldwide, stranding thousands of passengers on a busy travel day.

As of early Monday afternoon, Delta said it had canceled more than 450 flights. Tracking service FlightStats Inc. counted 2,000 delayed flights - about one third of the airline's entire schedule.

About 12 hours into the outage, limited flights had resumed but widespread delays and cancellations were ongoing.

At Yeager Airport, several flights were canceled or delayed, according to airport spokesman Mike Plante.

As of mid-afternoon Monday, nearly 200 people had experienced delays or cancellations at the Charleston airport.

Delta Air Lines flies from Yeager Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, where the system failure apparently began.

Two planes scheduled to leave Atlanta, arrive at Yeager Airport and then return to Atlanta on Monday were canceled as of mid-afternoon Monday, Plante said.

Another flight, scheduled to leave for Atlanta at about 7 a.m., didn't leave until about 10:30 a.m. Plante said passengers had boarded that flight at about 8:30 a.m., after Delta said it anticipated the computer system would soon be restored.

Plante said a flight scheduled for later in the afternoon was delayed until the evening, while a flight later in the evening to Atlanta was canceled. Fifty people were booked for the evening flight, he said.

A power outage at an Atlanta facility at around 2:30 a.m. local time initiated a cascading meltdown, according to the airline, which is also based in Atlanta.

A spokesman for Georgia Power told The Associated Press that the company believes a failure of Delta equipment caused the airline's power outage. He said no other customers lost power.

A Delta spokesman said he had no information on the report.

Many passengers were frustrated that they received no notice of a global disruption, discovering that they were stranded only after making it through security and seeing other passengers sleeping on the floor.

It was unclear if the airline was even able to communicate due to its technical issues, and Delta said that there may be a lag issuing accurate flight status on the company website because of the outage.

Flights that were already in the air when the outage occurred continued to their destinations, but flights on the ground remained there.

Airlines depend on huge, overlapping and complicated systems to operate flights, schedule crews and run ticketing, boarding, airport kiosks, websites and mobile phone apps. Even brief outages can snarl traffic and cause long delays.

That has afflicted airlines in the U.S. and abroad.

Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over several days after an outage that it blamed on a faulty network router.

United has suffered a series of notorious delays since it merged with Continental as the technological systems of the two airlines clashed.

Lines for British Airways at some airports have grown longer as the carrier updates its systems.

On Monday in Richmond, Virginia, Delta gate agents were writing out boarding passes by hand. In Tokyo, a dot-matrix printer was resurrected to keep track of passengers on a flight to Shanghai.

Technology that appeared to be working sometimes issued bad information. Flight-status systems, including airport screens, incorrectly showed flights on time.

"Not only are their flights delayed, but in the case of Delta the website and other places are all saying that the flights are on time because the airline has been so crippled from a technical standpoint," said Daniel Baker, CEO of tracking service FlightAware.com.

Delta issued an apology to customers and said teams were attempting to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Many passengers, like Bryan Kopsick, 20, from Richmond, were shocked that computer glitches could cause such turmoil.

"It does feel like the old days," Kopsick said. "Maybe they will let us smoke on the plane, and give us five-star meals in-flight too!"

In Las Vegas, stranded passengers were sleeping on the floor, covered in red blankets. When boarding finally began for a Minneapolis flight - the first to take off - a Delta worker urged people to find other travelers who had wandered away from the gate area, or who might be sleeping off the delays.

Word of the extensive breakdown began to spread after the airline used a Twitter account to notify customers that its IT systems were down "everywhere." Technological issues extended even to the company's website.

Tanzie Bodeen, 22, a software company intern from Beaverton, Oregon, left home at 4 a.m. to catch a flight from Minneapolis and learned about the delays only when she reached the airport and saw media trucks.

Bodeen said that passengers were taking the matter in stride. "It doesn't seem really hostile yet," she said.

The company said travelers will be entitled to a refund if the flight is cancelled or significantly delayed. Travelers on some routes can also make a one-time change to the ticket free of charge.

Yet many passengers still did not know where the rest of their day would be spent, and decisions on refunds would have to be made later.

At noon inside New York's LaGuardia Airport, Francesca Villardi still had no idea when her 11:50 a.m. flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, would depart.

The departure boards said her plane was leaving on time. She received different answers from three Delta employees, one of whom said she would be traveling to Cincinnati first. "This is not organized at all," said the 51-year-old professional organizer from Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Pilot in deadly Texas hot air balloon crash had WV ties http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ01/160809952 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ01/160809952 Mon, 1 Aug 2016 17:55:08 -0400 Erin Beck By Erin Beck The pilot in the hot air balloon crash that killed 16 people in Texas on Saturday used to live in Charleston, according to locals.

Alfred "Skip" Nichols lived by himself on Connell Road, in South Hills, according to a former neighbor, Dave Thomas.

Thomas said Nichols was living in his grandmother's house about 11 or 12 years ago while his grandmother, who was sick, lived elsewhere, possibly in Florida.

Thomas, a bartender at Sam's Uptown Cafe and the Boulevard Tavern in downtown Charleston, said Nichols had a hot air balloon business while he was in Charleston. He was a regular at Sam's, Thomas said.

On Sunday, Thomas was watching television and immediately thought of Nichols when he saw news of the hot air balloon disaster.

"I was like, there's no way that could be Skip," Thomas said. "Sure enough, it was him."

Several local residents confirmed that Nichols used to live in Charleston. Some declined comment or said they didn't know him well enough to comment.

On his Facebook page, Nichols, who was 49 when he died, posted in March 2015 about a show at The Empty Glass bar and, in October 2014, about being a frequent attendee at "Mountain Stage." In another post, a friend quoted him objecting to a lack of national news coverage of the January 2014 water crisis in West Virginia.

The hot air balloon fire took place in a remote area of Texas near Lockhart, 30 miles south of Austin, Saturday morning. Everyone aboard, including Nichols, was killed.

Federal investigators say the hot air balloon hit an electrical wire.

Nichols had a long history of customer complaints against his balloon tour companies in Missouri and Illinois dating back to 1997. Customers reported to the Better Business Bureau's St. Louis office that their rides would get canceled at the last minute and their fees never refunded.

Nichols pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in St. Louis County in 1990, then twice in 2002 and again in 2010, according to online court records.

He also was convicted of a drug crime in 2000 and spent about a year-and-a-half in prison before being paroled. He was returned to prison in April 2010, after his parole was revoked because of his drunken driving conviction that year. He was paroled again in January 2012.

His ex-girlfriend, Wendy Bartch, told The Associated Press on Monday that he had been in recovery for at least four years. She said he had been working on mending his relationship with his father, with whom Nichols had had a turbulent relationship because of his drinking.

Bartch said Nichols "did not fly when he wasn't supposed to. Having other people's lives at stake was Skip's primary concern."

Authorities have not publicly named anyone killed in Saturday's crash, saying it could take a while to identify the bodies. But Nichols was identified as the pilot by his friend and roommate, Alan Lirette, who said Nichols was a good pilot.

"That's the only thing I want to talk about, is that he's a great pilot," Lirette said, speaking to the AP from a house he shared with Nichols in Kyle, Texas. "There's going to be all kinds of reports out in the press, and I want a positive image there, too."

Authorities say the balloon, which was operated by Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides, hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture Saturday near Lockhart, about 60 miles northeast of San Antonio.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. Board member Robert Sumwalt said the pilot was licensed to fly the balloon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Erin Beck at erin.beck@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5163, Facebook.com/erinbeckwv or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.

Expert to Rio athletes: 'Don't put your head under water' http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ0113/160809978 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160801/GZ0113/160809978 Mon, 1 Aug 2016 08:00:13 -0400 By JENNY BARCHFIELD The Associated Press By By JENNY BARCHFIELD The Associated Press RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Just days ahead of the Olympic Games the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria, according to a 16-month-long study commissioned by The Associated Press.

Not only are some 1,400 athletes at risk of getting violently ill in water competitions, but the AP's tests indicate that tourists also face potentially serious health risks on the golden beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana.

The AP's survey of the aquatic Olympic and Paralympic venues has revealed consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses from the pollution, a major black eye on Rio's Olympic project that has set off alarm bells among sailors, rowers and open-water swimmers.

The first results of the study published over a year ago showed viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe. At those concentrations, swimmers and athletes who ingest just three teaspoons of water are almost certain to be infected with viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses and more rarely heart and brain inflammation - although whether they actually fall ill depends on a series of factors including the strength of the individual's immune system.

Since the AP released the initial results last July, athletes have been taking elaborate precautions to prevent illnesses that could potentially knock them out of the competition, including preventatively taking antibiotics, bleaching oars and donning plastic suits and gloves in a bid to limit contact with the water.

But antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. And the AP investigation found that infectious adenovirus readings - tested with cell cultures and verified with molecular biology protocols - turned up at nearly 90 percent of the test sites over 16 months of testing.

"That's a very, very, very high percentage," said Dr. Valerie Harwood, Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. "Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this."

While athletes take precautions, what about the 300,000-500,000 foreigners expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics? Testing at several of the city's world-famous beaches has shown that in addition to persistently high viral loads, the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad - and sometimes even exceed Rio state's lax water safety standards.

In light of the AP's findings, Harwood had one piece of advice for travelers to Rio: "Don't put your head under water."

Swimmers who cannot heed that advice stand to ingest water through their mouths and noses and therefore risk "getting violently ill," she said.

Danger is lurking even in the sand. Samples from the beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema revealed high levels of viruses, which recent studies have suggested can pose a health risk - particularly to babies and small children.

"Both of them have pretty high levels of infectious adenovirus," said Harwood, adding that the virus could be particularly hazardous to babies and toddlers who play in the sand.

"You know how quickly an infant can get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital," she added. "That's the scariest point to me."

Dr. Fernando Spilki, the virologist and coordinator of the molecular microbiology laboratory at Feevale University in southern Brazil whom AP commissioned to conduct the water tests, says the survey revealed no appreciable improvement in Rio's blighted waters - despite cleanup promises stretching back decades.

"Unfortunately, what we've seen throughout all this time is that there is a variation in the levels of contamination, but it fluctuates much more as a result of climactic conditions than due to any measures that may have been taken to try to remove this contamination," said Spilki, one of Brazil's most respected virologists.

The most contaminated points are the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where Olympic rowing will take place, and the Gloria Marina, the starting point for the sailing races. In March, 2015, sampling at the Lagoon revealed an astounding 1.73 billion adenoviruses per liter; this June, adenovirus readings were lower but still hair-raising at 248 million adenoviruses per liter. By comparison, in California, viral readings in the thousands per liter are enough to set off alarm bells.

Despite a project aimed at preventing raw sewage from flowing directly into the Gloria Marina through storm drains, the waters remain just as contaminated. The first sampling there, in March, 2015, showed over 26 million adenoviruses per liter; this June, over 37 million adenoviruses per liter were detected.

While local authorities including Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes have acknowledged the failure of the city's water cleanup efforts, calling it a "lost chance" and a "shame," Olympic officials continue to insist Rio's waterways will be safe for athletes and visitors. The local organizing committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment, though it has previously said bacterial testing conducted by Rio state authorities has shown the aquatic venues to be within state guidelines.

The crux of the issue lies in the different types of testing used to determine the health and safety of recreational waters.

Bacterial tests measure levels of coliforms - different types of bacteria that tend not to cause illnesses themselves but are indicators of the presence of other, potentially harmful sewage-borne pathogens such as other bacteria, viruses and protozoa that can cause cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid, among other diseases. Bacterial tests are the worldwide standard because they're cheap and easy.

But there's a growing consensus that they're not ideal for all climates, as bacteria break down quickly in tropical weather and salty marine waters. In contrast, viruses have been shown to survive for weeks, months or even years - meaning that in tropical Rio low bacterial markers can be completely out of step with high virus levels.

That disparity was borne out in the AP's testing. For instance, in June, 2016, the levels of fecal coliforms in water samples from Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches were extremely low, with just 31 and 85 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters, respectively. But still, both had alarming readings for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally, with 7.22 million rotaviruses per liter detected in the waters of Copacabana, while 32.7 million rotaviruses per liter were found in the waters of Ipanema Beach.

The testing also revealed alarming spikes in fecal coliform levels - the very measure the state government uses to determine the safety of Rio's recreational waters.

"If these were the reported values in the United States, let's say in California, there is definitely an indication of a problem," said Dr. Kristina Mena, a waterborne virus expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

According to California's bacterial tests standards, 400 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters is the upper limit for a beach to be considered safe for swimming. AP's tests revealed that Copacabana Beach, where the marathon and triathlon swimming are to be held and thousands of tourists are likely to take a dip, exceeded California's limit five times over 13 months of testing.

Nearby Ipanema Beach, which is not playing host to any Olympic sports but is among the city's most popular tourist spots, exceeded California standards five times over 12 months, once spiking to nearly 50 times what would be permitted in California. One of two testing spots along the beach in the Olympic hub neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca once hit more than 60 times that limit over the five months testing was conducted there.

"If we had exceedances that consistently were in the thousands like I'm seeing here, there would be a high likelihood that that beach would be put on our list of impaired water bodies," said Rik Rasmussen, manager of surface water quality standards at California's State Water Board. That would lead to water quality warnings posted on the beach, possible beach closure, and the development of a program to root out the source of the contamination, he said.

The beaches even violate Rio state's own standards, which are much less stringent than those in California, many other U.S. states and beach-loving countries such as Australia and New Zealand. In Rio, beaches are considered unfit if bacterial tests turn up more than 2,500 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters - more than six times higher than the upper limit in California. But Copacabana and Ipanema even violated those much higher limits on three separate occasions. The state environmental agency, INEA, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Rasmussen acknowledged that the higher thresholds might make sense in Rio, where sewage pollution has been a perennial problem, meaning that locals are regularly exposed to the pathogens lurking in raw waste from an early age and therefore build up immunities. But visitors are unlikely to have such immunities, putting them at risk for illnesses.

After the AP's initial report on the findings of the study in July of last year, the Olympics' adviser on health matters, the World Health Organization, said it would carry out its own viral testing in Rio's Olympic waterways. The agency later flip-flopped, finally concluding that bacterial tests alone would suffice.

Athletes who have trained years for a chance at Olympic glory have resigned themselves to competing in the filth.

"There's been a lot of talk about how dirty the water is and all the viruses," said Finnish team sailor Noora Ruskola. "I'm mentally prepared for this. Some days the water is totally OK, and some days there are bad days."

However, tourists are unlikely to realize the dangers: Water quality warning signs used to dot showcase beaches, but they're no longer there. Now, a brief item on the weather page of the local paper lists which beaches the state environmental agency has deemed safe for swimming.

Most beach-going visitors are likely in the same situation as Raul Onetto, a 52-year-old bank executive from Uruguay recently soaking up the sun on Copacabana Beach.

When asked whether he knew that the bacterial levels sometimes exceeded the norms in other countries and could indicate problems, he expressed disbelief.

"The water looks beautiful. I didn't know it was dirty," said Onetto. "If it's dirty, the public should know it. I came 2,000 kilometers to be on a beach."

In Rio, the main tourist gateway to the country, a centuries-long sewage problem that was part of Brazil's colonial legacy has spiked in recent decades in tandem with the rural exodus that saw the metropolitan area nearly double in size since 1970.

Even in the city's wealthy areas, sewage treatment has lagged dramatically behind, with so-called "black tongues" of fetid, sewage-filled water common even on the tony Ipanema and Leblon Beaches. The lagoons in the fast-growing Barra da Tijuca region have been filled with so much sewage dumped by nearby glass-and-steel residential towers that vast islands of sludge emerge from the filthy waters during low tide. That lagoon system, which hugs the Olympic Park and Athletes' Village, regularly sees massive pollution-related fish die-offs and emits an eye-watering sulfuric stench.

Promises to clean up Rio's waterways stretch back decades, with a succession of governors setting firm dates for a cleanup and repeatedly pushing them back. In the city's 2009 Olympic bid document, authorities pledged the games would "regenerate Rio's magnificent waterways." A promised billion-dollar investment in cleanup programs was meant to be among the games' most important legacies.

Once more, the lofty promises have ended in failure.

Just over a month before the games, biologist Mario Moscatelli spent more than two hours flying over Rio in a helicopter, as he's done on a monthly basis for the past 20 years.

Viewed from above, Rio's sewage problem is as starkly visible as on the spreadsheets of the AP analysis: Rivers are tar-black; the lagoons near the Olympic Park bloom with fluorescent green algae that thrives amid sewage; fishermen's wooden boats sink into thick sludge in the Guanabara Bay; surfers paddle amid a giant brown stain that contrasts with the azure of the surrounding waters.

"It's been decades and I see no improvement," laments Moscatelli, an activist who's the most visible face of the fight to clean up Rio's waterways. "The Guanabara Bay has been transformed into a latrine ... and unfortunately Rio de Janeiro missed the opportunity, maybe the last big opportunity" to clean it up.

Clinton accuses Trump of 'degrading comments about Muslims' http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160731/GZ0113/160739915 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160731/GZ0113/160739915 Sun, 31 Jul 2016 21:07:43 -0400 By Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Lemire The Associated Press By By Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Lemire The Associated Press ASHLAND, Ohio - Hillary Clinton said Sunday that Donald Trump repaid the "ultimate sacrifice" of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq with insults and degrading comments about Muslims, as the soldier's bereaved father pressured Republican Party leaders to distance themselves from the GOP presidential nominee.

Clinton's comments came after Trump refused to back down from his criticism of the Gold Star parents' remarks.

"Am I not allowed to respond?" Trump had tweeted. "Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!"

It was the latest bitter rhetorical volley between the defiant Republican candidate, Clinton and the family of a fallen soldier since the two parties concluded their major conventions last week and the nation looked ahead to a close election this November.

Trump's stand has once again left Republican leaders facing demands to denounce their party nominee and overshadowed Clinton's campaign message with controversy.

"He is a black soul," said Khizr Khan, whose son Humayun received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed in Iraq in 2004. "And this is totally unfit for the leadership of this beautiful country."

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," he said, "It is majority leader's and speaker's moral, ethical obligation to not worry about the votes, but repudiate him, withdraw the support."

Likewise, Clinton told Republicans on Sunday: "This is a time to pick country over party."

In statements released Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned any criticism of Muslim Americans who serve their country and rejected the idea of a Muslim travel ban - an idea proposed by Trump earlier in the campaign. But neither statement mentioned Trump by name or repudiated him.

McConnell praised Capt. Khan as an "American hero," while Ryan noted that many Muslim Americans have served "valiantly" in the U.S. military.

"Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice - and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan - should always be honored. Period," Ryan said.

Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, issued a blistering statement of his own, saying anything short of revoking their endorsements of Trump was "cowardice" on the part of McConnell and Ryan.

"This shouldn't be hard," Reid said. "Donald Trump is a sexist and racist man who insults Gold Star parents, stokes fear of Muslims and sows hatred of Latinos. He should not be president and Republican leaders have a moral responsibility to say so."

On a post-convention bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, Clinton said Trump has a "total misunderstanding" of American values and has inflamed divisions in American society.

"I don't know where the boundaries are. I don't know where the bottom is," she told reporters during a campaign stop in Ohio.

"I do tremble before those who would scapegoat other Americans," she told parishioners in a Cleveland church on Sunday morning. "That's just not how I was raised."

At last week's Democratic National Convention, Pakistan-born Khan told his son's story and questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution and said "you have sacrificed nothing."

During the speech, Khan's wife, Ghazala, stood quietly by his side.

"If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say," Trump said, in an interview with ABC's "This Week."

Ghazala Khan responded Sunday in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post, saying talking about her son's death 12 years ago is still hard for her. When her husband asked if she wanted to speak at the convention, she said she could not.

"When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant," she wrote.

At one point, Trump had disputed Khan's criticism that the billionaire businessman has "sacrificed nothing and no one" for his country.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures," Trump said.

Trump, who had no campaign events scheduled this weekend, released a statement late Saturday night calling Humayun Khan "a hero" but disputing his father's characterization.

"While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things," said Trump.

Trump's rebuke was unusual in the world of politics where officials only speak well of families whose loved ones die in service to their country. When Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, staged prolonged protests on the war, then-President George W. Bush responded by saying that the nation grieves every death.

When asked about the mother of a State Department official killed in Benghazi, Libya, who blamed Hillary Clinton for her son's death, Clinton told "Fox News Sunday" that her "heart goes out" to the families and that she didn't "hold any ill feeling for someone" who has lost a child and recalls events differently.

Across the country, veterans and their families closely watched the political back-and-forth.

"It was inappropriate on both sides," said Mark Farner of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, as he stood a few feet from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. "For one to use it as it as the Democrats intended it to be used, and I don't think Trump handled it the way he should have on his end."

Farner had just made a rubbing of the name of his cousin, Calvin Wilson, who was killed in action in February 1967.

Romell Short of Washington, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, said he has no problem with veterans' families being politically active and speaking about their experiences.

"America should know the suffering and the cost of war and part of that is the sacrifice of American troops and the sacrifice of American families," Short said.

But he cautioned that the views of families should be read separately from their family member who served.

Associated Press writer Chad Day in Washington contributed to this report.

On Twitter follow Lisa Lerer at http://twitter.com/llerer

Police: 1 San Diego cop killed, another wounded in shooting http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729502 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729502 Fri, 29 Jul 2016 08:02:27 -0400 The Associated Press By The Associated Press SAN DIEGO (AP) - One police officer died and another was wounded after being shot in a San Diego neighborhood, authorities said early Friday.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a Twitter post that she had left the hospital where the wounded officer had come out of surgery and that he's expected to survive.

The names of the officers have not been released.

There was no immediate word on what touched off the violence, which occurred about 11 p.m. PDT Thursday in the southeastern part of city.

Police searched the area for suspects and urged residents to stay indoors.

Video footage showed officers out in force with numerous squad cars with emergency lights flashing lining a street, officers on foot and a helicopter buzzing overhead.

Police spokesmen did not return calls for further comment, but the department said in a Twitter posting that one suspect was in custody and other suspects were being sought.

The shooting comes with law officers around the country on alert after the killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge earlier this month.

Sandy Hook school opening to public, 4 years after massacre http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729504 GZ0113 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160729/GZ0113/160729504 Fri, 29 Jul 2016 06:19:21 -0400 By PAT EATON-ROBB The Associated Press By By PAT EATON-ROBB The Associated Press NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - When the public gets its first glimpse Friday of the school built to replace the one where 20 first-graders and six educators were massacred, they'll see a building designed to be attractive, environmentally friendly, conducive to learning, and above all, safe.

The old Sandy Hook Elementary School was torn down after the gunman's rampage in December 2012. The new $50 million, 86,000-square-foot school was built on the same property but not in the old footprint, and is scheduled to open next month. A media tour will precede a public open house on Friday.

Local officials hope that allowing everyone a look at the school this week will give students a "quiet, respectful, and appropriate opening as teachers and students return to the new school year," on Aug. 29, Superintendent Joseph Erardi said.

The new school, funded by a state grant, has safety features such as impact-resistant windows and state-of-the-art video monitoring. Its ground floor is elevated, making it harder to see inside classrooms from the outside. It has been landscaped to ensure anyone approaching the school is visible to those inside and can enter via one of three pedestrian bridges that cross the landscaping.

It has been built to invoke nature, with treehouses and courtyards.

The driveway and parking lots also have been changed, to minimize the emotional impact on students and educators seeing the property for the first time since the shooting.

"Our goal was to create a place of community and learning, a place that would honor those we lost and allow those who were left behind the chance to move forward," First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a statement.

Sandy Hook students have been attending school in neighboring Monroe, which renovated a previously closed elementary school for the Newtown children after the shooting. The new school will serve students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.

There will be about 390 students enrolled this fall, and 70 of those, all now fourth-graders, were students at the old school when the shooting occurred, Erardi said. Only about 30 of them were in the building at the time, he said, attending the morning kindergarten session.

None of them witnessed the shootings, which were heard throughout the school, prompting students to hide where they could in their classrooms until the building was cleared by police. The shooting occurred before the afternoon kindergarten session.

Because of retirements and transfers, only about half the staff members from the original Sandy Hook are still with the school, he said.

The district will provide those students and staff with special resources to help cope with the return, Erardi said.

A three-year, $7.1 million grant to fund added mental health professionals has expired. But grants from charities will cover those costs, he said.

It will not have a prominent memorial to the Sandy Hook victims, and Erardi declined to say whether they will be remembered in some other way.

"I'm going to pass on answering that," he said, "because it involves the conversations I've had with the impacted families and those will always remain confidential.

Clinton: "Progress is possible" http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160728/GZ01/160729506 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20160728/GZ01/160729506 Thu, 28 Jul 2016 23:10:20 -0400 By JULIE PACE and ROBERT FURLOW Associated Press By By JULIE PACE and ROBERT FURLOW Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Promising Americans a steady hand, Hillary Clinton cast herself Thursday night as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world. She aggressively challenged Republican Donald Trump's ability to do the same.

"Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis," Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination for president. "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

Clinton took the stage to roaring applause from flag-waving delegates on the final night of the Democratic convention, relishing her nomination as the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. But her real audience was the millions of voters watching at home, many of whom may welcome her experience as secretary of state senator and first lady, but question her character.

She acknowledged those concerns briefly, saying "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me." But her primary focus was persuading Americans to not be seduced by Trump's vague promises to restore economic security and fend off threats from abroad.

"I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we'll ever pull together again," Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. "But I'm here to tell you tonight - progress is possible."

Clinton's four-day convention began with efforts to shore up liberals who backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and it ended with an outstretched hand to Republicans and independents unnerved by Trump. A parade of military leaders, law enforcement officials and Republicans took the stage ahead of Clinton to endorse her in the general election contest with Trump.

"This is the moment, this is the opportunity for our future," said retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, a former commander in Afghanistan. "We must seize this moment to elect Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America."

American flags waved in the stands of the packed convention hall. There were persistent but scattered calls of "No more war," but the crowd drowned them out with chants of "Hill-a-ry" and "U-S-A!"

The Democratic nomination now officially hers, Clinton has just over three months to persuade Americans that Trump is unfit for the Oval Office and overcome the visceral connection he has with some voters in a way the Democratic nominee does not.

She embraced her reputation as a studious wonk, a politician more comfortable with policy proposals than rhetorical flourishes. "I sweat the details of policy," she said.

Clinton's proposals are an extension of President Barack Obama's two terms in office: tackling climate change, overhauling the nation's fractured immigration laws, and restricting access to guns. She disputed Trump's assertion that she wants to repeal the Second Amendment, saying "I'm not here to take away your guns. I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place."

Campaigning in Iowa Thursday, Trump said there were "a lot of lies being told" at Clinton's convention. In an earlier statement, he accused Democrats of living in a "fantasy world," ignoring economic and security troubles as well as Clinton's controversial email use at the State Department.

The FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private internet server didn't result in criminal charges, but it did appear to deepen voters' concerns with her honesty and trustworthiness. A separate pre-convention controversy over hacked Democratic Party emails showing favoritism for Clinton in the primary threatens to deepen the perception that Clinton prefers to play by her own rules.

Through four nights of polished convention pageantry, Democratic heavyweights told a different story about Clinton. The most powerful validation came Wednesday night from Obama, her victorious primary rival in 2008. Obama declared Clinton not only can defeat Trump's "deeply pessimistic vision" but also realize the "promise of this great nation."

Clinton was introduced by her daughter, Chelsea, who spoke warmly of her mother as a woman "driven by compassion, by faith, by kindness, a fierce sense of justice, and a heart full of love." President Bill Clinton watched from a seat on the convention floor, beaming with pride and repeatedly leaping to his feet.

Clinton was joined on stage at the end of the night by her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who addressed the convention Wednesday. Fireworks exploded inside the arena and red, white and blue balloons plunged from the arena rafters.

Clinton and Kaine head into the general election seeking support from the same coalition of voters that propelled Obama into the White House: blacks, Hispanics, women and young people. The diverse parade of speakers who took the stage in Philadelphia this week underscored that goal.

On the convention's closing night, Khizr Khan, an American Muslim whose son was killed in military service, emotionally implored voters to stop Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration.

"Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with their future," Khan said. "Let me ask you, have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy."

The program paid tribute to law enforcement officers killed on duty, including five who died in Dallas earlier this month in retaliation for officer-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.

"Violence is not the answer," Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez said. "Yelling, screaming and calling each other names is not going to do it."

Clinton sought to reach beyond the Democratic base, particularly to moderate Republicans unnerved by Trump.

Former Reagan administration official Doug Elmets announced he was casting his first vote for a Democrat in November, and urged other Republicans who "believe loyalty to our country is more important than loyalty to party" to do the same.


AP writers Catherine Lucey, Kathleen Hennessey and Lisa Lerer contributed to this report.

Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC